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'22 Jump Street' Makes Fun Of Itself Making Fun Of Itself

By Dustin Rowles | Film Reviews | June 13, 2014 | Comments ()


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Even in the era of movie franchises and sequels, live-action comedy sequels are something of a rarity, and one needs only look to The Hangover sequels to understand why. It’s difficult to replicate a comedic premise that manages to feel both fresh and funny. Chris Miller and Phil Lord’s 22 Jump Street deals with that problem head on: Like The Hangover, it recycles its premise and the general story outline of the original, but manages to reinvigorate itself by announcing its intentions and then laughing at itself right along with the rest of us.

It may be easier to describe it with a football metaphor. 21 Jump Street was like Adrian Peterson taking a hand-off, running right, breaking 16 tackles, and sprinting into the end-zone for a touchdown. 22 Jump Street is the exact same play, only he runs left, and every time he breaks a tackle, he yells into the safety’s face, “I just ran the exact same play and I still owned your ass.” The result is the same: A touchdown, and while Peterson might feel a little more exhausted from having run for six points on consecutive possessions, the celebration is no less lively.

22 Jump Street moves the premise from high school to college, but it reuses most of the same elements from the first film. Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) continue to play brothers, only here the dynamic is reversed: Korean Jesus is Vietnamese Jesus, Jenko is the popular one in college, rushing for a fraternity and becoming a star WR on the football team, while Schmidt has to cope with being the college loser (though he does end up hooking up with an art major). Schmidt and Jenko use drugs again (with similarly hilarious results) and even the case is an almost carbon copy of the case in the first movie: Infiltrate the student body, befriend the dealer, find the source. And while Nick Offerman was used in the first movie to poke fun at the fact that they were remaking an old TV show, he’s used her to spoof the fact that they’re making a sequel (and at times, it’s almost too on the nose).

All of this might sound like an exhausting remake of the first one, if not for the fact that Miller and Lord end up subverting many of the first film’s tropes while simultaneously playing into and mocking bigger-is-better sequel cliches. It winks at itself so hard it sprains its own dick, but there’s something funny in that, too. It’s not entirely recycled, either: there are a few new setups and jokes, a couple of new characters (Workaholics’ Jillian Bell is a particular stand-out) and there are also a few eerily timely references to both Tracy Morgan and Maya Angelou and, more awkwardly, a scene in which Charming Potato’s character lectures a henchman on the use of the word “f*gg*t” that features some unintentionally priceless Jonah Hill reaction shots.

22 Jump Street may be more of the same, but it manages to succeed almost in spite of itself. I don’t think there’s enough left in the tank for a trilogy (and the hilarious post-credits sequence seems to rule that out), but there was plenty of energy and momentum to keep this one afloat.



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Comments Are Welcome, Jerks Will Be Banned


  • Guest

    Stopped reading when you went into a football metaphor. Way to reach the wider audience.

    That is to say... "let's describe something most people aren't familiar with, by comparing it to (drum roll)... something most people aren't familiar with." /sarcastic_clap

  • willdallas53

    Most people aren't familiar with the most popular, by a ridiculous amount, sport in America? Look up what the highest rated television event is every year if you get a free minute in your, obviously, very free days.

  • Guest

    Familiar yes... never the less... he (the writer) "limits" his audience by using this metaphor. It's a broad stereo type of public knowledge... the same as every schmuck who compares all measurements in terms of how long a football field is.

    Sure, it get's through to a good portion of the audience, but not all of it... no debate there at all. It just depends, as a journalist and it's news site, how hard they're willing to try to reach as many readers as they can.

    Weak writing that limits your journalism's reach to it's audience is what this is about... not the inherent relative popularity/awareness of football itself... other than to point out that it's a weak metaphor. I think you're not seeing the forest for the trees in this regard.

    Thanks though, at least, for probably the most "on topic" response yet. /bow

  • alacrify

    Yes, I reject any soccer or cricket metaphor because I have no resources to learn to understand a post.Or to understand different vernacular from others. Learn, or leave, I guess...

  • Guest

    You confuse my 'opinion' of the above journalism, with my 'personal knowledge' of the subjects in it. I understand the subjects of the metaphor and it's meaning... I'm commenting on the weak writing... because... you know... it's the internet and I'm bored. ;)

  • pajiba

    Bless.

    You're a treasure.

  • Guest

    Wow. I just figured out this article was in fact written by the Editor in Chief/Publisher. So sad that our collective standards have dropped so low.

    Well, not much point ever pointing out the weakness of writers here ever again... not while mediocrity has the helm anyway. >_>

  • TK
  • Guest

    What a hollow place this seems to be becoming as the character slowly seeps out in the form of animated gif memes... got the intelligentsia here is what we have.

    ..because... cough... pride in your own ignorance is such a noble and fine trait... and they certainly were ignorant in the wild west, now weren't they. You go look in that mirror proudly now. ;)

    ...and while you're at it... don't forget to actually defend the quality of the writing... oh wait... nobody has... how telling (see previous jab at 'ignorance').

    (edit: that last paragraph is the really important part in all of this. NOT ONE SINGLE PERSON IN THIS COMMUNITY HAS STEPPED UP TO DEFEND THE QUALITY OF THE WRITING in this article... all of your childish responses sit in that bright light. You essentially wail and nash teeth, yet say nothing relevant.)

    I mean is it really any surprise that when the fisherman catches something, it's relative to the type of lure they use? The journalism here is the lure... so I'm personally not surprised that the fish defending it are only small fry... intellectually limited that is (not to say without potential though...benefit of the doubt and all).

    In this bath of ignorance, and for only now, I'm going to sit in my own boat right beside the journalists boats, and while they fish for readers I'm going to bang my pots and pans and scare away the really big fish for you.

    (/aside... okay, that was fun. Somebody say something witty now... or maybe even clever... while avoiding the subjects of the discussion entirely... it makes me all warm and fuzzy inside... coughshootingfishinabarrelcough)

  • willdallas53

    wow that was long and boring and full of run on sentences and periods and boring. Your own writing sucks so much that you cant even get anyone to engage in dialogue back or ever suffer through reading the entire post while talking about other peoples writing and you blame it on others. Maybe its just your too dumb to get people to try to respond in an intelligent manner. No one came here to read some losers long winded rants. Good job on being so obtuse though, Bravo.

  • Guest

    "wow that was long and boring and full of run on sentences and periods and boring."

    ... and yet here you are responding and engaging me. That warm and fuzzy feeling is hitting me again. ;)

    And while I chose to stylize/personalize my writing with extra "...", they could be replaced mostly with commas or colons... so hardly your traditional run-on. But thanks for pointing it out, because that's what this is all about right? Me! You know... as opposed to the trite journalism on display here.

    (...and segue)

    "Your own writing sucks so much..."

    ...Educating me on writing? Arguing semantics?

    You didn't start a sentence with a capital letter... forgets apostrophes in contractions. Uses "your" instead of "you're"... and you're going to waltz in here an educate me? Bahaha.

    Your post proves the point of my previous posts... and you are being responded to in kind... LMAO. You sir have just firmly planted your own foot in your mouth... thanks for playing... next?

  • willdallas53

    I use voice to text. It has poor grammar sometimes. Its a quarter billion dollar program so I suppose I should expect more but i let it go. As far as you go, yawn. Have a good life, in your moms basement, posting on the internet everyday.

  • Guest

    LMAO. You're to LAZY to fix your crappy (by your admission) "voice to text" and you blame the Software? A quarter billion dollar program? Seriously? LMFAO. Deflect much? Take responsibility much?

    Your grammar/writing sucks because you're lazy... end of discussion. It's worse than being ignorant... you know "what" to do and yet chose not to. That's called "willful ignorance"... probably one of the most reprehensible character traits humanity can serve up.

    And that's an adorable jab at me. Pretending to have a clue who I am and where I live. So cute... it's the internet dude, you don't really know me and your jab is a simplistic and stereo-typical insult. "Where I live" and "what I do all day", has nothing to do with my education level and my intellect. I mean who really says that insult to anyone anymore anyway? People with little to no education, who haven't been taught to properly express themselves, is who.

  • willdallas53

    I'm physically saying yawn since you cant see me falling asleep trying to read your posts, which Ive given up on doing since they are so boring and long winded and yet you keep rambling on. I'm sure I'm not breaking news here but no one cares what you think about anything.

  • Guest

    ...and yet, here you are again. You're my fav so far. :) That's it... keeeep feeding me. /shmuck

    The reason you think I'm long-winded and boring (and keep responding to me... lmao) is because you have the I.Q. and attention span of a child. Bookmark this article and come back and read it again when you get into high-school (read:hit triple digit I.Q.)... should be good for a laugh... cause God knows I'm thoroughly entertained by you. :P

    /intermission ;)

  • willdallas53

    yawn x infinity

  • pisswizard

    jesus christ, dude. you make my vagina sad.

  • Guest

    So what you're saying is... you're hiring? ;)

  • Guest

    ...and that you are apparently unable to express yourself at a greater level than this? Kinda proving my point really you know. Hiding behind pithy comments while ignoring the subject of the discussion... an intellectual coward if there ever was one. /contempt

  • ZbornakSyndrome

    The original shocked the hell out of me because I am, apparently, the only straight woman in America that thinks Tatum is ugly.

    I've never gotten his appeal, he looks like a lump and always seemed like a dim bulb. But in 21 Jump Street he completely won me over. He was just really, genuinely funny. I was so impressed with Tatum and his chemistry with Hill. So if they can match that level of zany, they're totally getting more money out of me this weekend.

  • John G.

    you mean almost like a charming potato?

  • ZbornakSyndrome
  • Parsnip

    Nope, you're not the only woman...Tatum, bless his heart, is not a pretty boy but he is funny and he doesn't seem to take himself too seriously.

  • Parsnip

    What won the movie over for me (the first one that is) was not only Tatum and Hill but also the supporting cast. They were all so charming (especially the adorable Nick Offerman), so I'm not really expecting too much from this one except more of the same and I'm happy with that.

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